Dinosaur Trouble: The Secret Hunt by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ
Young fans of cave-boy Arg will welcome another title in the Dinosaur Trouble series. Arg and his messy friend (owner of a miniscule brain) can’t work out why the men of the village are not going to their usual hunting grounds. Instead they’re heading for a sunny clearing on an isolated island. It’s not till the last couple of pages that we find the men are playing a “strange, chasing, wrestling game” with an oval-shaped gourd… No prizes for guessing what they’re doing.
My three grandsons (aged 10, 8 and 5) will all read this book because they like the two Arg series – especially the yucky bits. However the older two will zap through the book in five minutes – so it’s really a bit too young for them. It’s just the right level for the 5-year-old. It will be a popular buy for primary school libraries, and a can’t-fail birthday present for boys just learning to read.
ISBN 978 1 77543 369 9 RRP $9.99 Pb
Myths and Legends of Aotearoa retold by Annie Rae Te Ake Ake, Scholastic NZ
This is the second revised edition of the original anthology which was published in 1999, and became a finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards. It’s been a good seller for the last twenty years, and I’m sure a handsome new edition will be very popular. It contains fifteen legends, all written in an easy-to-read style suitable for oral delivery. Favourites such as The Great Fish of Maui, Pania of the Reef, and Hatupatu and the Bird Woman are included, along with others I haven’t read before, such as The Legend of Waikaremoana.
Each story is accompanied by atmospheric illustrations done by a select group of talented young New Zealand secondary students – of Maori, European, Pacific Island and Asian descent. For me, one of the most interesting parts of the book is the section about the author and the various illustrators. Each young illustrator talks briefly about the inspiration behind his or her work.
It is almost twenty years since these teenage artists laid out their dreams. I think Scholastic NZ has missed an opportunity to give an added dimension to this book by providing up-to-date information about the artists – now that they’re adults. A quick Google search produced information about some of them – and proved that they did indeed follow their dreams. Possibly Scholastic couldn’t contact all the artists. Anyway, it’s an impressive book that should be in all school libraries – and also deserves to do well in the international and tourist markets.
ISBN 978 1 77543 523 5 RRP $27.99 Hb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman